Open Letter To Support Community Media in Albuquerque, New Mexico
We are writing to all of our friends and allies as community media advocates, community access television practitioners and media justice supporters. We send this letter to specifically ask you to join us in supporting Quote...Unquote--a 30-year-old Community Access Center that has been serving the Albuquerque community by providing a platform for community members and residents to have access to 21st century digital media making tools. Quote…Unquote has been an avid and committed member of MAG-Net for nearly five years, connecting local producers and non-profit organizations to national coalitions and sharing their locally produced media with members of the network—and now, more than ever, they need our support.
In October 2011, we were stunned to learn that instead of renewing Quote...Unquote’s contract, the City Council of Albuquerque awarded a “competitive” public access contract to uPublic, a brand new organization with no track record of producing programming for cable access television, no public interest media background and no community-based relationships.
As you know, the acceleration of media consolidation has led to the erosion of local media outlets and the silencing of alternative and independent voices. In the U.S., Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access Centers are unique in that these local community media infrastructures allow local community members and organizations the ability to create their own programming and broadcast it to hundreds of thousands of viewers via the public access television channels. PEG stations like Quote...Unquote are vital to providing local and neighborhood programming to the community. They are not only recognized as a national leader in the community and youth media fields, but they are also respected as a long standing devoted community-based organization.
Since last October, Quote Unquote has been organizing to expose the legal irregularities in how the City of Albuquerque handled the whole contract process and launched an impassioned campaign to educate the community about the major issues. It was revealed that the Comcast Cable proposal submitted behind closed doors would allow them to illegally buy 6 of the 9 allocated Public Access channels from the City of Albuquerque for $250,000. The estimated market value per channel is approximately $1.3M!
On June 19th, there will be a hearing where Quote-Unquote lawyers will have a final opportunity to argue for an injunction that would halt the city's attempt to grant the contract to this corporate entity that would essentially destroy community media. This is not an isolated incident, for the past six years, media corporations have forced hundreds of Community Access Centers and PEG stations in nearly twenty states to shut down, effectively stripping those communities of the outlets they use to tell their own stories free from mainstream media's filter.
Please lend your support to save this Community Media Infrastructure, independent voices and a 30-year Public Access station.
Donate to the Quote UnQuote Legal Fund today.
Tracy Rosenberg, Media Alliance
Chad A. Johnston, The Peoples Channel & Durham Community Media
Gretjen Clausing, Philadelphia Community Access Media (PhillyCAM)
Brian Drolet, Deep Dish TV
Andrea Quijada, Media Literacy Project
Carlos Pareja, People’s Production House
Nan Rubin, Community Media Services
Caron Ammons, Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center
Sean McLaughlin, Access Humboldt
Jeff Rousset, Prometheus Radio Project